17th July 2018 | Company info

Augmented Reality – the Future of Interactive Environments?

OK- So what exactly is Augmented Reality (AR)? If you weren’t a player of Pokémon Go, you must have at least heard of the game. It swept the world off it’s feet and has set the precedent for gaming ever since. All you need to begin play is a smart phone – using both your location and surroundings, captured live by your camera, and interactive characters appear in your vicinity.

AR is one step further than Virtual Reality. Whilst Virtual Reality completely replaces the users’ reality/environment, usually via a headpiece – AR is an immersive, interactive experience mixing the users’ real-world environment with elements which are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information; sound, graphics, video and GPS data. VR is more of a Solo experience, whilst AR can be a shared experience. AR is more intelligent and responsive to its physical environment, understanding how to add augmented elements to your surroundings in a realistic, interactive way.

Last year, the whole of the UK was turned into an AR experience with ‘England’s Historic Buildings’ app. Utilising specialised ‘trigger points’, focusing on buildings of heritage, the app developed by England’s Historic Cities was created for tourists to interact with their environments. Activated by a phone camera, something almost all of us have, visitors can uncover AR displays, such as reconstructions and 360-degree panoramas informing the user of the story for each individual site. A very responsive way to utilise today’s modern technology at such historic locations, attracting a new, young demographic, breathing new life into these ancient sites.

These technologies are slowly making their way into corporate industries, even Theme Parks! Alton Towers have introduced the world’s first ride attraction dedicated to VR; Galactica. With a specially tailored immersive experience, synchronised with the ride’s twists and turns, the user feels to be ‘blasted through space’.

With technology developing at such a rapid pace and graphics becoming ever more realistic, enhancing surroundings is becoming easier and more extreme; AR apps have the ability to influence and increase both dwell time and footfall, easily applicable to any sector. Theme Parks, for example, could create AR displays for the queues before rides, adding games or linking to purchasable merchandise, creating a whole new ‘attraction’ using space which is currently not utilised.

See our work for Theme Parks here.